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DP World Tour Championship: Ian Poulter leads praise for Henrik Stenson

Dubai: World No 15 and Europe’s Ryder Cup hero Ian Poulter has lavished praise on Henrik Stenson’s consistency this season, but still intends to pip the Swede to the Race to Dubai crown in this week’s season-ending DP World Tour Championship.

Poulter is fourth in the Race to Dubai, almost €350,000 short of race leader Stenson, and could still overtake his rival depending on where the Swede finishes.

If Poulter wins the DP World Tour Championship, Stenson needs to finish second to win the Race to Dubai, whereas if Poulter finishes second or third, Stenson needs to finish third or 38th to keep hold of the series title.

If he did this, the Swede would become only the third consecutive golfer to win money lists on both sides of the Atlantic since Luke Donald and Rory McIlroy.

“The player of the season, if it had ended already, would be Stenson,” said Poulter. “The year he’s had, the amount of world ranking points he’s earned compared to anyone else is phenomenal.

“He’s comfortably up on world ranking points. You’d have to say he’s been by far the best player. Hence why, in this order of merit — and he’s already won the order of the merit in the States — he’s basically done what Rory was doing last year.”

Aside from his praise of Stenson, however, Poulter fancies his chances of an upset, especially after finishing second to Robert Karlsson here in 2010 after incurring a stroke penalty on a play-off shot after dropping his ball on a marker.

He said: “I’m pretty confident for this week. I love the golf course. I’ve played it really well in the past, apart from a tiddlywink incident on the first play-off hole. So if I can do something similar like what I played a couple of years ago, then I’m going to be in contention.

“I think if I could win this week and win the Race to Dubai, I think that would be a huge achievement for myself, as a personal goal. That’s something that every player wants to do; you want to win the order of merit. And yeah, it would be another box ticked for 2013.”